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Help to Find and Thank Local Emergency Services Heroes

MEDIA RELEASE – MAY 2017

A brand-new initiative is providing Victorian residents a way to recognise and thank their local emergency services workers and volunteers.

Find my Hero Australia, has been developed by Emergency Services Health, Australia’s only private health insurer exclusively for the emergency services community to support the mental health and wellbeing of emergency services workers and volunteers who put their own safety, health and even their lives on the line to protect our people and communities.

By enlisting help from people in the community via social media our brave men and women can be identified and located to ensure messages of thanks will find their way to those individuals to make a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Emergency Services Health CEO, Michael Oertel says giving and receiving thanks has positive impacts for both people who have been rescued or helped, and emergency responders.

“We’ve already seen people be reconnected with their heroes and it’s been valuable experience for all involved.

“There is a significant amount of research which shows that being thanked makes people feel valued and aids their future performance of selfless actsi. Gratitude is also linked to reducing depression, better sleep, improving self-esteem, and strengthening our ability to cope with adversityii.

Emergency responders are there at our most desperate times, but it’s often not possible for the people they serve to share their appreciation and thanks in these situations where time and urgency is vital.

“Closure can be crucial to ongoing performance, wellbeing and happiness for emergency responders, but it’s not always possible to know the outcome of accidents and emergency situations,” says Mr Oertel.

Significant emergency and crisis situations, such as major floods and fires, have also shown how giving thanks can be healing for communities.

“Expressing thanks and gratitude offers emotional engagement, whether it’s sharing a thank you message via social media, putting a sign on a road or writing a letter,” says Mr Oertel.

Find My Hero Australia will provide a platform online for people from around the country to share their message of thanks, ask the community for help and get the message to the right person or unit.

First responders from different disciplines often rely on each other for support during emergency situations, and this initiative will also provide the platform for workers and volunteers to share their thanks with a colleague or peer.

Emergency services workers and volunteers are firefighters, paramedics, nurses and medical response units, state emergency units, surf lifesavers, flying doctors, and triple-0 operators to name a few. They face dangerous situations, horrific accidents, and are relied upon as people’s last line in impossible situations.

To find a local hero, or help someone else find theirs, visit the Find my Hero Australia Facebook page at Facebook.com/FindmyHeroAU and use the hashtag #FindmyHeroAU with your story or message of thanks.

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